Hayden Hurst -- a 2018 1st-round pick -- says his battle with depression and anxiety got so bad ... he blacked out and cut his wrist in an apparent attempt to kill himself in college.
"I woke up in the hospital," the Baltimore Ravens tight end told First Coast News in Florida this week. "I didn't know what happened. I had to have a friend fill me in."
"Apparently, I had been drinking and went into my apartment and cut my wrist. My friend found me in a puddle of blood. He called 911."
26-year-old Hurst -- who had just joined the University of South Carolina football team at the time -- said the episode was a wake up call for him to seek help for his anxiety issues.
"What happened?" Hurst said he asked himself from the hospital bed at the time. "What are you doing?"
Hayden -- who says he's battled mental health issues for years -- got the help he needed ... and now he says he wants to use his platform as an NFL player to help people in similar situations get assistance.
"For some reason, people equate mental illness with having to be ashamed," Hurst says ... "I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of. Everybody goes through something."
The 6'4", 245-pound tight end admits he still has his struggles, saying he's "not this superhero that's portrayed on TV" ... but he says he's determined to help people regardless.
"If my story is going to change the narrative on this and people are going to talk about it more, then so be it."